PwC moots area permits in UK to allow employers to hire foreign workers

United Kingdom to hire overseas workers in the post-Brexit regime

PwC, a global consultancy which offers a wide range of services, has mooted a proposal to allow companies in Birmingham, Manchester and other major cities of the United Kingdom to hire overseas workers in the post-Brexit regime.

Commissioned by the City of London Corporation, PwC based its scheme on regional visa policies that Canada and Australia follow. Both these countries, former colonies of Britain, have a focused approach to let migrants come into areas where the population growth is less and the paucity of skills are adversely affecting its local businesses.

Meanwhile, Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, has, in fact, said to have started campaigning for an exclusive ‘London visa’ to help businesses in the UK capital to continue recruiting people from foreign countries despite the fact that Britons can no longer move freely within the EU.

The Financial Times quotes PwC’s recommendations as saying that a case for a broader regional visa policy must be put in place to lend support to businesses in other cities.

One of the proposals asks to let businesses to initially make a request for a visa to their local authority, which would scrutinise applications and then pass it on the Home Office for work permits to be allotted.

An alternative proposal would be to let the Home Office revive its former chain of regional visa centres, which were eliminated eight years ago when the present points-based immigration programme was put in place. With their knowledge of their own provinces, immigration officials would evaluate businesses that submit requests and use their discretion for sanctioning the permits.

PwC has also suggested instituting two short-term regional visas – one which would last for a year and the other for three to six years.

Mark Boleat, the City of London Corporation, policy chairman, stated that with Brexit came a unique opportunity to revisit the current visa system and bring in a new one, which would be suitable for their regions and adaptable for businesses at large.

Julia Onslow-Cole, PwC’s head of global immigration, was of the view that a regional visa scheme could be justified politically than the government’s intervention to dole out special offers, post-Brexit. She added that these regional visas would protect interests of foreign enterprises in areas such as Sunderland, whose specific skill needs cannot be satisfied easily via the UK-wide visa system.

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